Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Merry Christmas girls! Can you believe we've been doing this for a whole SEVEN MONTHS? Here's hoping we can continue on into the new year. Love you all! <3

It's Crimbas!!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Big news!

Hey guys! I've got big news! Can anybody guess what it is? I bet you can! Anybody? Anybody?

I SURVIVED MY FIRST SEMESTER OF GRAD SCHOOL! *cue dance party and confetti cannons!*

You knew that was coming, right? :P

Yesterday (or this morning from my perspective) I turned in my very last paper, a 14 page doozy on the character of Moriarty in BBC's Sherlock. It was so much fun, but also SO HARD, because I basically had to write my own theory/methodology to deal with the second season of the show. Which is cool, cause that's the kind of stuff REAL scholars do, but frustrating because the concepts lend themselves very well to presentation, but not so well to a paper. Ah well, it's done, and it is, according to my professor after my presentation, "conference material," so we'll see where that goes!

These past two weeks haven't been nearly as stressful as they could have been. I had 4 papers, 4 presentations (3 of which were on a paper that I'd written so they almost don't count) and my piano proficiency, and they all just sort of happened. I mean, obviously I've had to work at it, but I was way more stressed early in the semester before I got used to how much work this was gonna be!

The end of the year also means holiday parties. I had one on Sunday and it was interesting. You know how in every subject there's that one textbook that every school that has an even remotely decent program uses? Well, the guy that wrote that textbook for music history teaches here. He even goes to my church. Anyway, he was hosting the departmental holiday party this year, so I have a) been to his house, b) met his cats and his husband, c) had more than passing conversations with him, and d) had a personal tour of his library. Talk about starstruck! It helps that he is pretty much the nicest man ever, so he doesn't make you feel like he's this big high muckity-muck up on his throne of awesome-ness. But it's still kind of startling to think about - Oh hey, yeah, I know that guy! :P

I also have a dinner tonight (Wednesday) at the house of my 551 professor. You've heard me complain - you can imagine how much I'm looking forward to that. But I will survive, and then, and THEN! I get to go home! In fact, as you read this I am probably in the car somewhere along I-69, belting out Christmas carols at the top of my lungs. Imagine me with the biggest smile on my face, because I will be the happiest person in the world right then!

I will then be spending about 48 hours banned from any sort of device (hence typing this up early) because between typing four papers and my piano proficiency, my tendonitis is killing me. I plan on reading my way through the stack of 25 novels and 3 non-fictional film music books as best I can in those blissful 48 hours. I may even bribe Mom into making a fire so I can be warm for the first time in a month (my apartment is almost always freezing because I'm cheap and I have blankets).

Then it's back to the grindstone - I have one entrance exam left to pass, on early music history (400ish-1750 A.D.). YUCK! Then I need to do my instrumental proficiency, and I'm hoping to get it done early in the semester (in case I fail and need to retake it before the end of my 2nd semester, after which I'm not allowed) so I'll be practicing for that. There's also some kind of "styles" exam in February that I should probably start studying for. Doesn't Christmas studying sound fun?! NOT!

One other thing I'll be doing over break - I'll be looking at internships/fellowships for the summer! I'm actually quite excited about those! Of the ones I have picked out to apply to so far, 3 put me nearer to some of you - 2 in D. C. (Library of Congress and Smithsonian) and one in Cleveland (Rock 'n' Roll HoF)! I may be looking for a couch in one of those areas for a month or so over the summer *hinthint* :)

Alright girlies, that's my news. Hope you all have a fabulous holiday! <3

What have I been up to?

I wish I could say I've been busy... I haven't really.

I got your crafty gifts done and in the mail, so that's exciting. I hope you like them. :)

I still don't have a job. I finally went down to Publix and applied there. I could be cashiering next week. It will be part time with variable hours, and I will be bringing some income into the home, which I'm happy about. I really hate that I'm not contributing financially to our household. And though Publix won't be much, it will still be something.

Also, Publix is SO much better than Walmart! For one, they are not 24 hrs. Which means I can't be scheduled to work at 11 at night or 5 in the morning! YAY! (Also, they are not open on Christmas!) And did you know they have a computer system that calculates the number of cashiers on shift and the high traffic hours of the day and then gives everyone a schedule so that they don't end up with the situation of fifty people in line and only three registers running? WHAT? Why don't more stores have this? And they actually give their part time people significant bonuses for staying with the company and getting good evaluations. I'm impressed, can you tell?

 Mostly, I've been writing, writing, writing. First, I was working my Merlin story for Nano. And it's done, but it needs polishing. So I'm working on that. But oh my goodness, fanfic. I've been doing a lot of that too. Lots of ONCE stuff. Did you know the writers had considered a romance between Regina and Archie in season 2? WHAT? Totally exploring that now! And it's super cute!

Also, I need to make Christmas cookies. James and I are on our own this year, so things have been a little blah as far getting into the Christmas spirit. We don't have a tree up, mostly do the fact that we bought the cats a cat-tree and that's standing where the Christmas tree was supposed to go. And I have no idea where else to put it. I could try decorating the cat tower, but I think the cat's would demolish anything I put up. We're also probably the only house on the street that doesn't have lights up. Neither of us have the desire to put the work into that. haha.

But I am totally doing cookies. James wants buckeyes and I want meringues, so that's what I'm doing. Also, if you have never had homemade chocolate chip meringues, you need to (the store bought are too hard). Most delicious thing you will ever put in your mouth. I only made a dozen last year, and mom and I were very thankful for that because we could not stop eating them.

Kind of tempted to string lights around the cat tower now.....

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Exhaustion Has Become a State of Being

*ducks barrage of bubble wrap and rusty spoons flying toward her head*

Okay. Yeah, I know. But you should be aware that I picked bubble wrap out of the myriad of possible weapons largely because of the high likelihood that I would not get around to posting on Monday.

And the most frustrating thing about it is that I'm not even really that busy. Certainly nothing like I've been in the past. I work five days a week, I get home at about 5 every day, I have a choir rehearsal one night a week, and I go to church on Sundays. I am honestly not that busy.

What I am is exhausted. This is such a high-stress job, and couple that with moving and the holiday and Maggie being sick, there's so much I haven't gotten done and so much I have to do as soon as break gets here.

So an update on Maggie for y'all. She's having surgery on Thursday to remove her gall bladder, and we're hoping that's the end of the saga, but her doctor is worried that there might be something else going on, so she's been having lots of tests lately and feeling pretty crappy and not allowed to eat really anything (she breaks that rule a lot, though). But from what I understand, it's not a very invasive surgery, and they won't even keep her overnight. But she's very anxious about the surgery, so drop her some good thoughts and encouragement, yeah?

Anyway, as far as my life goes (and yay, folding in previous topics!), I was able to return to BG for Thanksgiving to help with the candy making (254 lbs!), but because of the aforementioned candy making, I didn't get to see nearly as many people as I wanted. I did see Anne very briefly at church, but it was sadly more like a fly-by than anything else, since we sit on opposite sides of the choir.

The drive to and from sucked majorly, though. Weather and bad drivers and weather delayed us significantly on the way up, and we stopped in Cleveland at 1:30am when our initial arrival time in BG was supposed to be midnight. And we got a later start than we wanted coming home and it's just a long drive, guys. I think we got home at 12:30 that night? And I had to be up for work five hours later. But regardless of the drives, I am very glad I got to visit home, for however brief a time.

I feel like I'm rambling. Am I rambling? I don't have a through-line; I'm so disjointed these days . . . I saw a great post on Tumblr a few weeks ago, a webcomic that basically said "Tired is no longer a momentary descriptor of how I am; it has become an integral part of my being." I entirely relate.

Anyway, the reason why this wasn't up on Monday was because I had a bell rehearsal scheduled very suddenly for the evening, and then Chase asked me if I wanted to take a winter stroll through downtown and do some Christmas shopping before my rehearsal, and how's a girl to say no to that? Then we got home, and I had to put together my Secret Santa gift and then it was time for bed.

(Don't ask about yesterday. I have no excuses.)

And speaking of Secret Santas and Christmas, I want to reassure you all that you WILL be getting your Christmas presents, the candy and the other thing that has nothing at all to do with Harry Potter or Patronuses, but they will probably be more like New Years presents, for two reasons. One, because that's when they'll be finished (can I get a time machine to go back to the moment when PastCassie said "Sure, I can handmake nine Christmas gifts this year, no problem!" and smack her?), and two, because then I'll have a nice new paycheck in the bank and be able to afford all of the shipping I have to do. :/

Let's see, what else? Seriously, I have no through line, guys, I'm just typing.

I haven't seen Frozen or Catching Fire or Thor 2 because I am bad at movies, but I have seen Ender's Game, which was one of the best book to movie adaptations I've ever seen done, to say nothing of just brilliantly cast and performed, and I have also seen The Book Thief, which was a lot better than I had braced myself for. There were a lot of things I wish they had done differently and been able to incorporate, but that's a beautiful movie with absolutely perfect casting, and I sobbed like a child.

Um . . . pretty lowkey Christmas plans at the moment. I've got a bunch of church stuff coming up, as expected, but mainly my plans involve cleaning, unpacking, decorating, and then spending a quiet Christmas with Chase. We aren't coming up to Ohio because his job only gives him Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off, and I abandoned him at Thanksgiving, so I can't very well do the same on Christmas without feeling like a horrible person.

Well, I think I've rambled enough, and besides, I need to get back to my Christmas projects so that people have things to open eventually. Ready your bubble wrap, and I'll see you all next week, with any luck.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Hellooooooo Dunbar Girls! It's been a while for me, and for that I apologize. You could say one or two things have been going on, but the truth of it is a busy schedule and a girl in need of brain organization surgery. Do they have that yet?

So I'm a waitress, exciting. God's been moving mountains: exciting-er.  

For Thanksgiving each of us on the team cooked or baked something different. Everything was delicious but I think the highlight of the meal was Amanda's sweet potato casserole. I'm convinced that's just human-kind trying to cheat and eat dessert first.  

We've decorated!

We can't travel on the program so we'll all be staying here for the holidays. It's been and will continue to be a lot of firsts for me, especially the holidays. Thanksgiving was my first away from family and Christmas will be as well. But my parents are coming to visit this weekend! I'm so excited, and only a little trepidacious.

One of the things you hear about this program from anyone who's ever been on it is how much you grow. You're bound to: thrown in a completely new environment with people you've only known for a few days and all of a sudden you have to rely on these girls like family. The only thing constant in your life is the Word of God that got you here. What happens when you throw the safe and familiar of family back into your life? Even if only for a few days?

So that's new. Our leadership is throwing a holiday party for us this Saturday, which means we have to get almost everything done this week in five days instead of six.  And that's the negative perspective so here's the positive: it's going to be so wonderful! Rev. Berryhill is this mustachioed southern man with a guitar, twinkly eyes, and perpetual smile. The team of all girls doesn't even phase him: he and his wife only have daughters!
You would all love his wife Jean.  She's got quick humor and a sharp wit. She knows exactly when to be Mom and when to be the woman that makes you get stuff done. 
The holiday party should be great, because its intention is to be an evening for us to be able to relax and be at ease. 

I wonder about the growth part and when I'll get to see it for myself. Our perspective is internal and we don't always see what others do. I wait for the point that I look at myself and recognize, "So that's who I've become."

Sunday, December 15, 2013

'Tis Life!

Life has, indeed, been a little crazy here as well.  I look forward to hearing from all of you, since it sounds like we've all been a little busy.

For starters, the fall semester is now officially over.  Grades are posted on Tuesday, and to my knowledge, I have three As and one B.  Exams went better than I thought they would.  The one that I was most worried about - Civil Law - was actually one of the easiest.  Business Law was the problem child, even though it was only fifteen questions (more of a quiz, really).  Then there was that insane research project I had to do in lieu of an exam for Legal Research and Writing.  We were given a scenario and, in a style similar to that which we would use in the field, we had to pinpoint all of the legal issues within the scenario and then research the answers.  After weeks of panicking and stress, I got a full score!  I have only one more semester to go, and then I can hopefully get a job and get a life  on track.  Living with Mom is okay - I love her more than anything in the world - but I'm very, very ready to be on my own.  Mom laughs at me because I have had a Zillow account for months now.  I'm on the app and/or website almost daily, looking at new listings in the area.

I did, however, have to take a couple of breaks during exam week, right?  Right.  On the 7th, Mom, Angie, and I went to see Wicked at the theatre downtown.  It was awesome!  The vocalists were really good, and there was even a twist at the end that I didn't see coming at all, despite having lived with Cassie for two years  =P  I liked the humor, and the intelligence of the plot, and the origins of the characters.  I have to keep the Wicked plotline seperate in my head, though, since my Oz story still isn't set in stone.  After the show, we went out to dinner at Red Robin (yuuummmmmm!), and the Angie and I went to see Frozen.  Another amazing show.  Anyone who hasn't yet seen this movie should find the time to do so because it is completely worth it.  It was really interesting for us in particular because there are a lot of similarities between Frozen and Wicked.  There really isn't a real villain in Frozen.  Like in Wicked, there are bad people, but no overarching evil force.  It's about being misunderstood, not being evil.

Since exams ended this past Thursday, I've been cleaning and baking.  I put together the dough for Christmas cutouts today (well...some of the Christmas cutouts...), and I will likely be baking them tomorrow.  There are a lot of cookies to be made this year, so I think I'm going to do it in phases, since I also have a lot of crafting to do before Christmas gets here.  You guys will forgive me if presents are late this year, right?  Because I might run out of time  =P  I'm completely finished with my non-crafting Christmas stuff.  I actually finished my shopping and wrapping weeks ago.  It's definitely a personal record.

Otherwise, life is pretty much normal.  Sport is doing fabulously.  We took him to the vet before school ended and found out that he had whipworms, which was easily killed with three days of anti-parasitic medication.  He is also fifty-five pounds now!  When we got him, he was supposedly only about forty pounds.  And he is so, so sweet.  He loves to snuggle up with Mom and me, and he is never demanding or loud.  He always has to be where Mom and I are, so he'll follow us around the house.  He's still timid with strangers, and even sometimes with Mom and me, but that's okay.  And he loves the snow.  Whenever we let him out, the first thing he does is eat a couple of mouthfuls, and then he'll toss the snow up in the air and run away, as if he's trying to be a certain distance away before it lands again.  He runs circles around the yard like a horse or a gazelle.  It's really amazing to watch.  Sure, he has his moments, but so do all dogs, and he's still a puppy, so he's allowed to get a little goofy.  The other animals are all doing well too, and are enjoying having someone home all the time.

Everybody waiting for Mom to get home.

Snuggling brothers  =)

OH!  I can't believe I almost forgot.  Another movie you guys have to see when you have the time is The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug.  AWESOME movie.  Cassie, our boy Richard Armitage puts on a stellar performance, and Maggie, our favorite dwarf (i.e., Kili) has some amazing moments!  And Smaug was amazing.  Benedict Cumberbatch did a fabulous job with his vocals, and they incorporated a lot of the dialogue from the book to great effect (like when Smaug is bragging about how awesome he is).  There's action and adventure and Legolas and a badass female elf (I think her name is Tauriel), and a couple of rulers who are awesome in their not-so-awesomeness.  So yes, go see The Hobbit.  You will not regret it. The Hobbit is a preview of a movie called Maleficent - the story of Sleeping Beauty from Maleficent's side.  The thing is...Maleficent is played by Angelina Jolie.  Thoughts?  I personally am a little wary of it because I dislike that actress a lot, but I wonder what you guys think.  The makeup job on her looks stellar if that helps.

I'm sorry I posted late.  I passed out cold yesterday after cleaning.

Love and miss you!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Is it a bad sign that whenever I notice a topic hasn't been posted and the blog has gone silent, I immediately think, Must be a week for either me or Maggie?

I'm sorry, guys. Really and truly. I don't think I posted once in November because life just exploded with insanity.

So let's do a catch-up week, shall we? I know down here we have a lot to talk about and fill you in on, so let's make that our official topic.

And I promise to post on Monday; you can hunt me down and beat me with, oh . . . tubes of bubble wrap if I don't. :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The life of a graduate student

Thanksgiving? Did that happen in there? Let's see... I spent a week at home so that must mean there was some kind of holiday happening, right?

Kidding, only kind of not. Thanksgiving break for me was 10 drafts of two different papers (one 500 words, one currently somewhere around 17 pages and likely to be longer), 60 pages of French reading, and coming up with a topic for another 500 word paper. While I would say I did get somewhat of a break (I finished a non-academic book I had started THREE WEEKS AGO!), most of my Thanksgiving was just doing work, with the added bonus of being around different people. Admittedly with Christmas music on the radio and a fire in the woodstove so I was nice and toasty warm :)

That's not to say we didn't do a few holiday-ish things. Mom and I watched the parade while cooking dinner, Grandpa came over from the Heritage (and actually ATE STUFF, which was impressive). I made my first ever pecan pie and it came out perfect, so that was exciting. After dinner I was supposed to take the rest of the day off... but I couldn't let myself, so I wrote another draft of one of my papers and THEN took the evening off.

The next morning Mom and I did a ladies' day shopping trip, which we usually do on Black Friday. We don't do all the crowded places though - the busiest place we go is usually JoAnn Fabrics, so yeah. I found lots of pairs of shoes, because with walking to and from school I seem to be wearing out my shoes faster than usual (surprise, surprise lol)

Right now Christmas is pretty up in the air, as far as I know. Granted, I have a lot else on my plate right now so all I really have to do is show up! I'll probably be home for about two weeks, so I'm sure there'll be shopping with Mom and the usual decorating/opening presents/fancy dinner. Grandma's coming from Eastern Ohio so that will be nice. BUT (again, life of a doctoral candidate) I will also be studying to retake the one entrance exam I failed, practicing for my instrument proficiency (if they ever email me back about the repertoire) and looking into/applying to summer internships/fellowships (there's one on archives in England, based in Oxford for an entire month. YES PLEASE!)

I'd better stop there. Can you tell I'm procrastinating three papers and two presentations? lol <3 you girls and I hope we hear from those of you who have gone MIA soon!

Friday, November 29, 2013

"In a word: tradition"

My family is all about traditions when it comes to the holidays.  For those of you who don't know, my Dad's side of the family is fairly close.  Daddy has four still-living siblings, three of whom are married.  I have nine cousins from my aunts and uncles, and we all gather for large parties at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

For Thanksgiving, usually someone volunteers to host the big turkey dinner, and then the rest of the families chip in by bringing something. This year, Mom and I hosted, so we made the turkey and stuffing (and corn bread rolls...yumm!) while mashed potatoes, green beans, yams, etc. came from the various other segments of our family.  It was pretty awesome this year, despite all the work Mom and I had to do.  I re-organized the kitchen completely so things finally made sense (since it's been, you know, a year since we moved in  =P), and then I helped Mom clean the house and cook for the big dinner.  Unfortunately, my cousin living in South Carolina couldn't make it, which was rather sad, since she just had her second baby a couple of months ago and I haven't seen little Adriana in person yet.  But the people that did arrive had fun, and the turkey turned out perfect.  We talked and laughed around the table like always.  It was really great to see everyone.

Towards the end of the night, we exchanged names for our Christmas party.  With as much as the family has expanded, we can no longer afford to get everyone a gift like we did when I was very young and my cousins were fewer.  So now we exchange names and we set a dollar limit, like a Secret Santa.  Luckily the individual I pulled only put down gift cards on her list, so she'll be easy to buy for.

Today, Mom and I passed out cold all day.  I sat around reading House of Hades by Rick Riordan (which you all need to read right now because it's amazing) while Mom took a nap on the couch.  Then Maggie texted me and told me she was at her dad's house only a few minutes away, so I raced over and spent a few hours there.  It was awesome.  One of her cousins (at least, I think he's a cousin...Maggie?) asked what LARPing is, and it turned into a two-hour discussion.  The poor kid looked like a deer in the headlights once we all finished telling him about not only LARPing, but also Cosplay, conventions, Furries, Morphicons (don't ask, it's gross...), LAGing, and D&D.  Then, after we finished telling him everything, Maggie's step-mother comes in with the most hilarious line of the night. She comes in from the kitchen and hears the word LARPing, and asks, "Wait, what's LARPing?"  We all were nearly rolling on the floor, we were laughing so hard.  It was pretty funny.

Christmas, on the other hand, is an entirely different ordeal with us.  I've heard my aunt/godmother say that missing Thanksgiving is forgiveable, but missing the Christmas party is a crime punishable by death.  She was only joking (I think), but since that particular aunt is a police officer and, therefore, has immediate access to guns, handcuffs, tasers, and batons, I don't think I'll take my chances anytime soon.  Similar to Thanksgiving, we all gather at the host's house, which rotates every year according to the age of the original family sibling (i.e., my dad still counts, so Mom's house is still in the rotation).  Everyone still brings something to help with the meal, and we all bring the gifts for our particular exchange person.  It's more talking and laughing and catching up, of which we have a lot to do, since some of us only meet up during these parties.  It's good fun, and if I ever moved away far enough that I couldn't attend anymore, I think I would go crazy.  You know, after my aunt police officer murders me.

So Happy Holidays to everyone!  I hope your Thanksgivings were awesome and that you all had the chance to indulge!

The Holidays

Hey! I want to know about everyone's Thanksgiving! How was it? What were/are your plans? What was the most memorable moment for you?

Also, what's everyone's plans for Christmas?

Lots of thanks!

Oh, the irony of being late on my own topic. I guess I got a little distracted, what with the holiday and all.

I am definitely thankful to have a roof over my head (and to have that roof to myself!), food to eat, and warm clothes to wear. I'm thankful for the amazing opportunities I've been given this fall. I'm thankful for all the people who have had to listen to me complain about how hard the work has been, and most days I'm thankful for that hard work. I'm definitely thankful this semester is almost over, and the holidays are almost here (because I totally need the break)! And I'm thankful for you guys, of course! I know I'm not around as much as I could be, but it has been fun reading all your posts and updates :)

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of family and far too much food. <3!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


God's blessings: that's what I'm thankful for. He provides either a day at work when everyone is cheerful, someone who is happy to have a conversation, or a few moments in the company of someone who allows my heart to rest. 

Sometimes He blesses me by my attempts at dinner working out. To address Heidi's topic: turkey vanilla meatballs. Recipe calls for onions sautéed in W.shire sauce and broth(neither of which I have)...uh...vanilla's brown! They actually turned out pretty well! 

I was also thankful to see the Doctor Who special at the theatre along with Catching Fire on my day off yesterday. Only showing on one day? Well, my dear, let's make that your day off!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Sun, The Moon, The Sky, The Earth, and All Things in Between

My family.  I have an awesome mom.  There really aren't any other words to use for her besides that.  I also have an amazing sister with whom I get along very well (usually), and who is marrying (someday) someone else that I am grateful for.  She has the pick of just about any guy, so I am very grateful that Chris makes her happy and that he's such a great addition to our family.  Angie and I have shared many a laugh and good time, so and I'm lucky to have a sister that I can talk to so easily.  My extended family is made of awesome too.  I have great aunts, uncles, and cousins on my father's side who are hilarious and a lot of fun to be around.  Of special mention is my aunt and godmother Sergeant Jean Crotty of the South Euclid Police Department.  She puts her life on the line every day to protect other people, and I am grateful that she has stayed safe.

My pets.  (Yeah, you should have seen that one coming).  All six of them (eight if you include the doggie nephews) are healthy and happy, and they make my life whole.  They love unconditionally, without a care about how I look or what I do.  I have never been so welcomed as when the dogs jump up and down and wag their tails when I walk through the door.  I love the way Oscar's "excited dance" whenever I come home, Ten-Ten's intelligence, and Sport's ungainly ways (seriously, he is so fricken' clumsy).  BTW, for those who have followed the Sport Saga, he is doing very, very well.  He hasn't had an accident in weeks, and when he did it was completely our fault.  We managed to get a crate for him that he won't break out of (since he managed to weasel his way out of the first), so the house is protected from his destruction whenever we're gone.  He barks like the pit bull he is whenever someone he doesn't know comes to the door, and has shown signs of being protective.  And yet, when we give him a treat, he's the gentlest of the three dogs in taking it from us.  I'm very thankful for him  =)

My friends.  Yep, that means you guys!  Without getting too sappy - seriously, you guys changed my life.  It's good to know that not everyone thinks I'm a wierdo, which is pretty much the attitude I grew up with through elementary, junior high, and high school.  I am so grateful for you guys and the way you accepted me without judgment or ridicule, and I can't thank you enough.  You are each made of awesome in your own right as well, and I couldn't ask for a better group with which to associate.  Giving, passionate, supportive, artistic, funny,...I just love you guys  =)  Included here too is Jason, who has been my rock and proverbial shoulder to cry on whenever I need him.  No time has been too late, and no amount of boo-hooing has ever been too much.

My life.  I have so much in my life that I am thankful for, even aside from my family, friends, and animals.  Mom has a good job and is willing to shack me up until I get one of my own.  I am grateful that this past semester has gone as well as it has, and that I am well on my way to independence.  I am grateful and relieved that I managed to secure an internship so quickly, and that it's in my desired field.  (I'll be working 100 hours for the Lake County Public Defender's Office next semester!  They've hired interns in the past too, so maybe if I rock enough, I'll come out with a job on the other side).  I have everything a person could ask for - clothing, food, health, a roof over my head,... - and I am very grateful for all of it.

In general.  I'm grateful not only for things in my immediate life, but for things that touch it from far away.  I am grateful for the bright, warming sun and the summer heat I love so much.  I am grateful for beautiful beaches and the oceans they touch, and for the wildlife both in those oceans and out of them.  I have never been so fascinated as when I am learning about the amazing limitations and abilities of animals.  I am grateful for music, for song, for dance, for theatre, and for any and all forms of artistic medium.  I am grateful for screened-in porches during rain storms, for warm blankets, and for the rejuvenating affects (effects?) of sleep.  I am grateful for the mysteries of this world as well, for how would intrigue be fed otherwise?  And I am grateful for stories, for without them I couldn't be the massive nerd that I am  =)


Lets be thankful!

Alright ladies. I know we've all been busy and participation in the blog has gotten spotty (I'm the worst offender, I'm sure). So this week I'll make it easy: Tell us what you're thankful for!

What? It's Thanksgiving week! What did you expect?

P.S. Sorry it's late. School, work, etc. etc. etc. You know all the excuses.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Make it better!

Since we are on the topic of food, take a traditional recipe and make it better!

Maybe you don't like chicken and dumplings because the dumplings are tasteless: season them up! Maybe just plain old hot chocolate is boring: add cinnamon or mint or cyan.

Show us you take someone traditional and make it better, and post the recipe.

Friday, November 15, 2013


This turned out to be an interesting topic because James and I have decided not to go grocery shopping until we've eaten all the food in the house in an attempt to (1) save some money this holiday season and (2) get rid of some of this food stuff we haven't eaten. So, we have to get a little creative with throwing stuff together.

I forgot to photograph my food! Sorry.

Chicken nugget casserole:
layer baking pan with frozen chicken nuggets, layer with cheese, layer with tomato sauce, stick in oven according to chicken nugget cooking directions.

These turned out okay. I'm not a fan of chicken nuggets. They are usually pretty horrible in terms of meat quality (unless you are chick-fil-a, omg, so delicious!). And the breading on the nuggets came out kinda soft, and I'm picky about consistencies. You could probably alter the recipe so the nuggets come out better. James liked it though, and has promised to eat all of it so I don't have to.

Succotash experiment?:
We had some Lima beans in our freezer, and mom always make awesome Lima beans for thanksgiving, so I dug those out. But in the spirit of using more ingredients, I dug out a bag of corn, and I cut up an onion, and then I thought why not add a can of pinto beans?

Put all that in a pot with two cups of water, some chicken bouillon, let simmer for 45mins to an hour until beans are tender. I haven't eaten it yet, it's still cooking. But it smells good.

Chocolate milk deliciousness:
Something I threw together when I was younger: take a large cup, spoon a generous helping of whipped cream into the bottom, squeeze a generous helping on chocolate syrup on top of the whipped cream, fill with milk. Some of the whipped cream will mix with the milk while you pour, and some of it will float to the top drizzled with chocolate syrup. Yum! You can stir the drink too, if you want.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Three ingredients!!

Pick three ingredients at random and make a dish out of them. Eat it! Photograph it! You can use more ingredients than the three but three must be random and unplanned. Enlist help if you must.

Happy eating and may the odds be ever in your flavor.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


I had to show you: letters made out of books! Kind of horrible, kind of wonderful

Writing takes motivation!

Oh dear. You know how many stories have been running around in my head for years and never managed to write? I'll give you a hint - I don't even know! The problem is writing takes constant motivation, which I just don't always have. I need something like Nanowrimo (or just a straight up deadline) to get anything done. I honestly want to be a writer someday, but I know I'm going to have to find somebody to read/comment on my work on a pretty much constant basis, so that I have deadlines for finishing things (anybody want to volunteer?)

So. For stories that I haven't written/finished:
  • I technically "finished" this one for Nanowrimo 2011, but Transdimensional Lending Library needs some pretty epic editing, as well as at least one sequel to make any kind of sense.
  • I am DETERMINED to rewrite my Sleeping Beauty retelling from Diehl's class in 2010.
  • Somebody (probably me) needs to write a musical steampunk story. I'm thinking Mozart + automatons here guys. It would be AWESOME.
  • I also have an idea that's about us, though mine is more about what our time at Hogwarts would have been like. I've been going to write it for a Christmas present for ya'll for years, and it just never seems to happen. Maybe one day!
But right now, the story most consuming my mind is a fanfic for OUAT. You see, I think there is an EPIC backstory to be had about Pan, and I seriously have about 90% of the episode worked out in my head. I also would like to write a Christmas episode of OUAT (or possibly OUAT Wonderland) that uses the story of the Nutcracker. Rumple would be Herr Drosselmeyer, of course, and I might even combine this and Pan's backstory by making him either the prince, or the brother.

All of this kind of assumes that one day I will have time to write something that's NOT scholarly (seriously, I am starting to hate this paper/week class. I only have three left, but I dread going to class every. Single. Week.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

So much to write so little time

I'm doing NaNo this year for the first time ever! And I'm very excited about it. So far, I haven't met the 1,600 words a day mark. But I have a friend who wants to finish her novel this year but can't do NaNo's rigorous schedule. So, we set ourselves to doing 750 words a day, which so far I've been able to surpass, so that's exciting.

I don't really have a story I would love to write "if I had the time." I expect eventually I will get finished what I'm aiming for. There is one story however that I'm not sure I have the know-how to write. It's just so in depth and there's so much research and stuff I'm going to have to put into it, and even then I'm not sure how I can piece everything together.

The story itself is a trilogy following three different characters living our world where werewolves and vampires have been living secretly for centuries, trying to integrate themselves into human society and hiding from our governments which know of their existence and have been keeping the truth secret from the public. Additionally, there's an underground human movement to protect and provide aid for vampires and werewolves who need it. Finally, there's an independent hunters group that is working to hunt and kill the undead.

There's just so many intricate working parts, and I don't know how it all works and interacts. And it's complicated, and I just don't know if my brain can handle it. It's in there, and I want to write it, but we'll have to see.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Awesome But Little Known Fairy Tales are my Bread and Butter

Damn it, I missed my own topic again! Le sigh. In my defense, though, moving and full time job and NaNo, yada yada yada.

Anyway, at any given moment, I have a multitude of stories clamoring for attention in my head. It gets very loud and very confusing. Once the story is written, the clamoring goes away, but the moment that happens, there’s always a new story idea waiting to take its place.

So! My ongoing, hypothetical works in progress are as follows:

-My massive Next Gen universe that talked about a few weeks ago, and all the individuals stories that entails.

-A Sherlock fanfiction that I really need to finish because if I don’t finish it soon, I’m not going to finish it at all, thank you inability to write against canon.

-An anthology of short stories called Reimagined that will contain all my fairy tale ideas that aren’t long enough to be full length novels. At current count, this will contain nine stories. Two of them are written.

But my current project is my NaNo novel. It’s called Minstrel Queen, at the moment, and it is a retelling of “The Lute Player.” Never heard of it? I am saddened but not surprised. No one has. Which is a massive shame because this story is amazing. It’s been a while since I’ve written a fairy tale According to Cassie, so let’s jump into that.

The Lute Player – According to Cassie

So basically, there’s this king. And he decides that, for some reason, he absolutely has to go to war. No one has attacked him; he’s just got his heart set on leading a crusade against the heathen land somewhere off in the distance. So he rides off, leaving his wife and kingdom behind.

And then he gets killed. Or at least, that’s what everyone thinks, and everyone mourns him. For three years. During which time, the queen never leaves her chamber, and apparently, no one ever worries about putting anyone else on the throne. For some reason.

But then, the queen gets a note from the king. He’s not dead, just captured. He’s in a dungeon, and he’s asking her to sell their castle and lands and empty the treasury to put together a king’s ransom and spring him from imprisonment. But the queen, being the most intelligent character in this story, looks at that suggestion and thinks it’s really dumb, presumably for the following reasons:

  •     If she sells the castle and the kingdom, what exactly is he hoping to come home and rule?
  •     If the heathen king hasn’t demanded a ransom/killed her husband already, what is the likelihood that he’s aware he’s got another king in his dungeon?
  •     Related to that, if he isn’t aware, isn’t showing up with a kingdom’s worth of gold gonna be pretty suspicious and give this king grounds to demand even more?
  •     Who are you gonna sell the kingdom to, who are you going to trust to take that much money into foreign lands, and how are you gonna transport it?
Yeah, the Queen looks at this situation and thinks, I’ve got a better idea. Because really, a trained monkey could have come up with a better idea.
Her idea is this: she disguises herself as a minstrel boy, and journeys off in secret to find her husband. Using only her wits and her music, she makes her way to the heathen land, and when she arrives, she heads straight for the palace and begins to sing.
Her music is so beautiful and enchanting that the heathen king immediately offers her anything she wishes as payment for gracing them with her song. This seems like a really dangerous promise for a king to make, but the kings haven’t shown themselves to be the smartest creatures around, so . . .
But the queen does not take advantage of this. Instead, she says that her journey is a lonely one, and could she have a prisoner from the dungeon to be her traveling companion? Because this woman is cunning, conniving, and intelligent, ladies and gentlemen.
She is taken to the dungeons, she finds her husband, she says “That one,” and without paying a single penny, raising a single suspicion, or attacking a single person, she and the king leave the heathen country for their own.
But here’s the thing. Her husband doesn’t recognize her.
On the one hand, it’s understandable. It’s been three years. She’s disguised as a boy. She’s the last person he expects to come spring him out of jail. They’re in a dungeon, and it’s dark.
But even once they are out in the daylight, he doesn’t recognize her, and she decides to keep her secret for reasons not made clear to us in the story.
When they reach their kingdom, the king “reveals” to her that, hey, he’s actually a king! And he will reward her for what she’s done with anything she can ask for. Again, really stupid promise for a king to make. But all she asks for is his trust and his love.
They part ways. She runs back through the forest and gets to the palace first. She decks herself out as a queen again, and goes into the throne room to wait for his return and, presumably, that jolt of recognition of Hey! It was my wife who saved my ass! She’s awesome, and I will make sure everyone knows it!
But, sadly, the queen married an idiot. And he still doesn’t recognize her, and worse than that, he starts denouncing her in front of the whole court. She’s a horrible human being, she’s selfish and thoughtless and cares nothing for her king. She’s a treasonous traitor because she let him languish in prison and didn’t do a thing to help.
It’s at this point in the story that we should correctly identify that the king is assuming an awful lot of things:

    A. That his message made it to the queen.
    B. That she would have been able to raise the money and send it to him in the time elapsed.
    C. That the heathen king he went to war against for being a heathen would have immediately freed him upon receiving ransom money.

Understand, he’s asked no questions of her. No, “Hey, did you get my note?” No, “Hey, did you send anyone to try and negociate my release?” No, “Hey, I’m happy to see I still have a kingdom to rule. How’d you manage that, by the way?” No. He just jumps right in and calls her a traitor. Doesn’t even give her a chance to defend herself. He just shuns her and meets with his minsters to talk about her punishment.

And the Queen? Well, she slips from the room, returns to her chambers, puts back on her minstrel clothes, grabs her lute, and goes out into the courtyard to play.

Immediately, the king goes, “Go get that minstrel boy and bring him here! He’s the one I have to thank; he saved my life!”

So the Queen, in disguise, is brought before everyone, and pulls her cloak back to reveal who she actually is. The court, unlike the king, recognize her immediately. To his credit, though, he does, too, this time, and he falls down on his knees and begs her forgiveness. She grants it, and they rule together for the rest of their lives.

I love this story, but I do have some questions. I threw lots of the ones I have in above, but as I’m retelling the story, I’m answering even more. I follow Cecy, the minstrel queen, from the age of six through the end of her fairy tale, rescuing her husband, becoming a great queen, etc. But I’m trying to make the king a little more sympathetic, and I’m trying to make the love Cecy has for him feel a little realer. My ending also won’t be quite so neat and easy for King Rowland.

But that’s my project this month. We’ll see how it goes. Only 44,000 words to go, give or take!

Crackle It Goes

I wanted to weigh in briefly on last week's topic: a finished attic with golden hardwood floors and gabled windows.

This week: Are any of you familiar with my Lightning Farmer concept? It began as quite fantastic: a society that opperates under the assumption that the world is governed by the laws of the Story. History does not loop but is assumed to be cyclical: every few generations there is a Hero, an Enemy, and a War. It began in my head with a supernatural aspect; higher beings that weighed in on the Story and influenced it based on their favored champions much like mythology. 

Now I think the supernatural bit is unnecessary, because the characters have enough to deal with as they wrestle with the roles that have been thrust on them as members of the Story.  Without those higher beings it is only society that puts people into categories of Hero or cannon fodder, and who are they to make that decision? People behave almost like those constantly conquered rat people from Dr. Who rather than stand and defend themselves and their homes because they're ordinary and it's  not their role, it's the Hero's.

I'm toying with making the main character actually not the main character because the point is that most people dismiss her (which makes me think of the Wheel of Time's method of story telling).

On another note I saw Ender's Game yesterday and am halfway through the book.

Love you!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

So Many...

I really do wish I had the time to do NaNoWriMo.  There are numerous stories in my head that I would love to flush out, if for no other reason than I've only ever completely finished ONE of my novel-length story ideas.  It's not even a very good one, either...

First and foremost would be my Oz / Wonderland / Neverland series.  I'm pretty sure everyone knows what I'm talking about, right?  It started in senior year of undergrad as a final project for Heath Diehl's (Re)Visioning Oz class, a class that I had to drop.  The story idea, however, has remained, and I've been slowly working on it bit by bit.  The trouble is, there are still some major plot points that I still can't decide upon, along with relationships between the characters that my head refuses to finalize.  Only when I finish with Oz can I move on to Wonderland, and only after Wonderland is done will I be able to start brainstorming for Neverland.  Maybe someday, when I'm all established...

But I also have a set of characters that I would love to write a story about, I just don't know what that story will be yet.  Basically...erm...they're kind of based on us.  I have sketches done already, and character profiles, but what I'm going to do with them is still up in the air completely (or...should I say up in my head...?).  I'm going back and forth between doing a fluffed-up version of our lives in undergrad or doing something ridiculous and putting things like werewolves, fairies, goblins, and other fantastical creatures in there too.  I think it would be cool to do a semi-autobiographical series, but that just sounds so BORING!!  I'm not used to writing things that have nothing to do with magic or ancient times or enchanted this-and-thats.

There are a couple of others, but those are the big two.  I have a set of comic ideas that I would love to work on as well - just little comic strips about my animals and the idiocy of daily life with goofy pets.  BUT I'm horrible at drawing animals, so that means practicing, and practicing takes time...which I don't have much of in the way of "free" time.

I love these topics, where we get to spout off about our artistic endeavors.  I can't wait to read the rest of yours!  Have good weeks, and I love you guys!

Friday, November 1, 2013

It's NaNoWriMo Time!

Hey there! Topic time!

So, it's November, which for me means it's NaNoWriMo. I'm setting out to write 50,000 words this month. I may be crazy.

Here's the topic:

What story is in your head that you'd love to tell if you had the time?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A house spelled T-A-R-D-I-S

I'm actually going to start with the non-real hopes, because otherwise I'm not going to make any sense. See, I love little houses from the outside. I have this image in my head of this little single story, four-ish room white cottage on a hillside, with roses climbing up a trellis next to the door. The problem is, on the inside, my dream house is about as big as the Von Trapp house in Sound of Music.

See what I mean? Clearly I'm going to be living in the TARDIS (which is totally an option, by the way).

For the inside of my house, I'm hoping for a library on an inner wall, so that I can paint windows "out" to various of my favorite scenes from books (I know I want the winter lamppost from Narnia, Bilbo's birthday party, and Hogsmeade for sure, and possibly some others depending on what kind of space I have - and I'll probably have to commission one of you to do the drawing so it actually looks like what I want it to...) under which I would build "window seats" for reading nooks. I also want a large(ish) kitchen - final size kinda depends on who all I'm feeding - and a front parlor that probably would almost never get used, but would just be an extra sitting space. Then there would be an upstairs with all the bedrooms (and a second story to the library that's closed off from the rest of the second floor and you can only access by a spiral staircase from the lower floor library - what?! I'm gonna have a lot of books!), with laundry chutes from each room down to a basement washroom that's next to the man-cave, assuming that by this point there's someone to NEED a man-cave. Oh and somewhere in all this mess there's a hot tub, because why not?

As for the rest of the non-real stuff, hmmmm... I'd kind of appreciate legs on the house, like Howl's moving castle, because then I could travel without leaving home (or worrying about finding accomodation). I'd also appreciate a pantry that always has exactly what you need for dinner, though I don't think I've ever read about one of those somewhere.

*sigh* Someday...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dream House and More!

Interesting topic!

I want a large kitchen, something bigger than a galley that has lots of room and cabinet space. I want the kitchen, dining area, and living room to all open and connected so you can see everyone in the other rooms no matter where you are standing.

No fire places!

I want a reading nook, some little nook where I can I put some cushions and read, and I'd like to have a window so I can look outside or bask in the sunlight. A bay window would be great for this, but it's not necessary.

I want a house without a yard so I don't have to work in it but is situated within walking distance to a park. A community garden would be nice too.

Getting into some crazier stuff.

I'd love a wonky staircase. Maybe it's spiral, maybe it's just a zig zag pattern coming out of the wall that is some how able to support itself and you. I'd like something unique.

There is a blue house with purple accents in Pendleton and I WANT it because it is made of awesome.

I want a ceiling that reflects the night's sky.

I want the crazy smart house in that Disney movie! I have no idea what the movie is called, but the girl wakes up in the morning and realizes she didn't pick out clothes for school and a drawer folds out with an outfit and the house says "sensors indicate this is what you would have chosen." I NEED that.

I'm horrible about getting ready for work in the morning. I need a smart house to pick out my clothes for work, cook my breakfast, and pack my lunch while I'm enjoying my nice long hot shower. Also, there's a scene where the kids clean the house by throwing everything on the floor and the house just sucks up all the garbage (presumably to recycle it). Yes, please!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Morwen Doors and Tower Walls

I want the house on the corner of Court and Summit in Bowling Green. I've never actually been inside it, but from the outside, dream house.

My biggest pipe dream on a house is to have a tower. I'm talking full two-story, round tower right there on the house. The upstairs will be my office, the downstairs will be Chase's man-cave. I will paint my favorite quotes about creativity right on the walls in Ravenclaw colors and build curved bookshelves into the walls and no of course I haven't been planning this tower since I was 13, are you kidding?

But more realistically (I want the tower, but it's not gonna be a selling point), I want a big kitchen, with an island and lots of cupboard space and marble countertops where I can make candy. I've had hole-in-the-wall kitchens too many times in my life -- I want something open and big and spacious.

I also want a room that I can designate "The Library" (money to appropriately expand my book collection is, of course, understood), and if I can't have that, I need to have plenty of room for bookshelves.

I want a bunch of random things, too -- a fireplace to hang stockings from, a secret passageway/secret room, lots of quirkiness, a second-to-first-story slide, and if there was room in the backyard for a meditation garden, I certainly wouldn't complain.

In terms of the mystical/magical, I too would like a Weasley clock, but honestly, when I think of magical dwellings, my mind jumps to The Enchanted Forest Chronicles quicker than Hogwarts, and I want a Morwen door. In that series, Morwen is a witch whose house consists of a kitchen with two doors -- one leads to the front steps and one to the rest of the house. The door, in other words, goes wherever she wants it to. If she wants to go to the backyard, it leads to the backyard. If she wants to go to the library, it leads to the library. In other words, Morwen's door makes her house a Tardis. I want a Morwen door.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Bland and the...Whatever the Opposite of Bland is...

Like I said, I've been thinking a lot about my future home, what with the possibilty of me moving out and being on my own actually reachable at this point.

First and foremost, I would like for the home to be located somewhere safe and relatively private.  I don't need prying neighbor eyes...ew...

Secondly, I want a "nerd cave."  Posters of all my geekiness all over the walls, all of my statutes and cool little geeky knickknacks spread out all over it, and an enormous desk where I can draw, write, or work on my computer.  Enormous bookshelves to accommodate my library, a comfy chair in which to read them, and ample lighting.  If it's done right, I'll never want to leave  =)

Thirdly, one of my few complaints about my current house is the size of the laundry room (or lack thereof).  Now, I don't love going to laundromats, but the one thing I did like about them is those huge tables they put out for folding clothing.  I would love a laundry room that has enough space in it not just for my washer and dryer, but also for one of those tables.  Also, lots of storage.

That's another hope/dream:  lots of storage!

Another something awesome would be an outdoor enclosure off the side of the house for my kitties.  Jack-Jack is going stir-crazy being locked inside all the time, so I wouldn't mind paying someone to build an outdoor habitat where I could just let him out and he can roam, climb trees, and run around like he used to.  And they'll be safe from predators that way, too.

Now, for the ridiculousness / awesomeness!  I want a "Weasley Clock."  There's no guarantee that I'll be near to any of your or my family when I get my own place, so I'd like to know how all of your are doing.  Even with all of the technological advances, things slip through the cracks, and one can go from "Hunkey-Dorey" to "Mortal Peril" in less than a second.  There would be hands for all of my immediate family, all of my extended family, all of my pets, and of course all of you.  Hm...I might need more than one clock...

Oh!  Also!  I want the ceiling of my bedroom to have the ability to show me the stars at night, the way they look in the actual sky.  Like the ceiling in the Great Hall at Hogwarts.  I would want it timed to after nightfall and for when I turn off my lights.  In that same sense, it would be great if the ceiling in my living room would reflect the way the sky looked outside.  That way I could get lots of lighting in there if I wanted, and I could know more accurately what the weather is doing outside.  Again, I would want it to be on my will.  I don't want to be watching movies while there's a storm raging above my head.

And a TARDIS in the backyard...with a Doctor to go along with it.  Preferably Doctor #11...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Pipe Dreams

This week's topic concerns future homes. I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want after I save up enough money and am able to move out of Mom's house. Do I want to have an apartment, or would I rather own something like a condo or even a small house? I know what I want inside said home, but not necessarily what the outside would look like.

So the topic is this: what features would be included in your ideal home? Granite countertops? Walk in closets? Close to work and family? Be creative!

To make things interesting, let's pretend that we're all witches and that the rules of Harry Potter magic apply. This should make it awesome =P

You don't HAVE to pretend that magic exists, but it'll make things more fun.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Related "Research"

Relaxation is hard to come by these days, and yet, this is the time I need it most. Most days I let myself watch something really stupid and uncomplicated on TV while I eat dinner (some one of the channels does Sabrina the Teenage Witch reruns from 6-7: JACKPOT on the brainless zombie-watching front!) I used to read for my de-stressing, and I still do now, but much less. Since the beginning of the year, I've read House of Hades and half of Crown of Midnight. Before school started, I had read at least 75 books, and was on track for making my year goal of 150 (which just seems laughable now, unless I'm allowed to count textbooks). I've found that reading comic books is a good substitute - it doesn't take quite as much brainpower, but still feels like reading. And of course, one of the perks of being in the humanities research fields (especially film) is that I can take a "night off" to watch a movie and still be doing "research" :P

That said, nothing beats a hot bubble bath and a cup of hot apple cinnamon or chai tea. I have had more bubble baths (and cups of tea) this semester than I think I have in the past 5 years or so. For some reason it's the only thing that can make the knot between my shoulders and my near-constant over-tiredness headache go almost completely away!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Going brainless

When I need to relax, I generally need to do something that doesn't require a lot of brain power, like watching a movie or playing a video game. Usually, when I need to relax, my brain is just over taxed, so I need to do something that means I don't have to think about it too hard so my head can just empty of whatever is buzzing around in there. Crafting, reading, or writing don't work because they still require a lot of thought.

Sitting with the kitties help, too, but only when they feel like staying on your lap.

I also like to take long hot showers.

When I was in school, I would get really jittery around finals. One of the girls mentioned that she would have a glass of wine while she studied because it helped her relax. I tried it the last couple weeks of school because I was so jittery that I couldn't study at all. It does actually help with the jitters, though you need to find the balance between the jitters being gone and your head being foggy, because then you can't study much either. :-p

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Relaxing? De-stressing?

I'm not always certain that relaxing and de-stressing are the same thing, so I will share what helps me to remain calm in uncertain situations.

Familiarity:  Similar to Katie, a familiar element in any situation calms my brain.  That element can be music that I know well enough to sing along with, or it may just be items nearby with which I'm familiar.  For instance: I just moved to Birmingham, AL.  I brought two suitcases with me, so none of the decorating elements in my home are familiar.  I was using a vacuum that we'd borrowed from our leadership and noticed that it is the same model as the one used at my previous job.  My housing is completely different, the people around me are completely different, but it's comforting to be able to operate this vacuum without any confusion or frustration.  It's an element of mental ownership.  Any time that I can control something in a situation, even if it's only myself and my brain, I stand a little stronger wherever I am. Some people bake and some people craft, some people just need something they can look at and know, "That's mine."

Monday, October 14, 2013

Crafting and Music

How do I relax? Well, I don't know, I'll tell you if it ever gets a chance to happen.

Okay, but seriously.

When I need to relax (which is basically always), I do one of three things, or three things in some combination.

1. I throw on my Soothing Background Music playlist, which consists of Celtic Women, film scores, and The Piano Guys.

2. I cuddle with Chase (Maggie gagging in the background always helps).

3. I craft. I find crafting to be genuinely relaxing, as long as I have the time to do it. But there honestly is something soothing in cross-stitching and making earrings and whatnot.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

*contented sigh*

I have had anxiety and stress issues since I was a little kid, and as I've gotten older, I've learned what triggers those feelings.  I've also grown to understand them.  This is very important because, in turn, I'll learn what makes me calm as well.

My stress is usually triggered by sensory overload and unpredictability - when I have a lot of activity around me and I am unable to predict what is going to happen.  This is one of the main reasons that I have never enjoyed going to night clubs.  The loud noises, flashing lights, crowded spaces, cramped movement...the combination produces an environment that is very unpredictable and very overwhelming.  Sometimes even family parties can have this effect on me, as well as going out to restaurants.  I have even had to leave a movie because the bass was so loud that it was vibrating in my chest, and it triggered a panic attack.  It's also, most unfortunately, why I refrain from visiting a lot of you.  I miss you guys, absolutely, but the idea of going several hours away, to a completely new environment that I am unaccustomed to, scares me quite a bit.

So, to make myself feel calm and relax, I look for spaces and situations that are predictable and quiet.  I enjoy sitting at home, where I know my environment well.  I enjoy the quiet because there isn't anything to concentrate on.  When I am at a family party and I feel some anxiety coming on, I duck away into the bathroom for a few minutes.  There, it's quiet, and I can regroup and tell myself, "Okay, this is what you're going to see when you leave again..."  I prefer hanging out with friends at someone's house instead of out on the town somewhere.  That way we can just sit and talk.

There are more specific techniques that I use, too, when I'm just feeling generally stressed and not necessarily anxious.  For example, I love a good bubble bath.  Bath and Body Works has a fairly new scent line out called Eucalyptus Spearmint, and it's a stress relief scent.  I have used the body wash and foam bath before, and to my surprise, it actually works!  I never used to believe in "natural" or "herbal" cures and remedies, but this stuff seems to do the trick.  The foam bath makes the water feel like it's actually nourishing my skin, like I'm wrapped in a blanket instead of just water.  Warm water has always had a calming effect on me by itself, but this stuff makes it even more relaxing.  Related to this is swimming.  Although the water is cool instead of warm, I love feeling weightless, and yet I'm still working out!  It's a wonderful thing.

And speaking of blankets, I have a minor addiction to wrapping myself in them.  Feeling warm and comfortable are the best anti-stress feelings for me, and blankies do both, especially if they're made out of fleece or fuzzy fabric  =)  

To accompany the blankie, I love to cuddle up with one of my lap-pets.  Oscar and Blitzie are especially helpful in helping anxiety melt away.  Both of them are usually willing to take a nice long nap with me, and I usually feel much better when I wake up again.  They don't appreciate it, though  =P

I'm sure you guys could probably guess some of the other relaxing activities I enjoy:  drawing, reading, writing, watching TV or a movie, etc.  I escape into a world where my troubles don't exist, and it makes it easier to deal with them when I come out of those worlds and face the scary world of reality.  I'm in a bit of a nerd heaven right now with all the good TV that's out:  Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Sleepy Hollow.  Plus Thor 2: The Dark World and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug are hitting theatres within the next couple of months.

But, honestly, the most useful de-stressing technique I discovered is one that I don't get to use as much as I would like:  hanging out with you guys.  I know you all probably don't realize this, but you are the first real friends I've ever had, and just being with all of you made me feel so much more comfortable.  Now, with all of you several hours away, I find myself feeling more and more alone.  I don't know why it's so difficult for us to keep in touch, with all the modern technology at our fingertips. Maybe I'm just scared that we're drifting, and talking to you guys would mean facing that reality.  I could go on for a lot longer about this, but I won't.  It's supposed to be an anti-stress post, after all.  But yeah, that's one of my best relaxation techniques.

As always, I love you guys, and I miss you.  I can't wait to read the rest of your posts.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Relax and take a load off!

Alright ladies, since we've all been complaining about how busy we are recently, why don't you tell us how you like to relax and unwind. Maybe a bubble bath with a glass of wine (which sounds AWESOME right now, btw)? Perhaps a nap, or a television show you don't have to think about (so probably not OUAT lol)? What is your trademark way of getting rid of stress?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Academic Creativity

You are all so creative! I have to admit that while I have lots of ideas for fanfiction I almost never follow through, for two reasons: 1) I'm mostly interested in what happens NEXT, not so much in the what happens on the side, or before, or whatever, and 2) I have a strong aversion to writing AU/anti-canon. So, for example, I had this huge, really awesome idea of a fanfic for the sequel of Thor forever ago. Since I only have a few pages written and it comes out next month I can guarantee you that's never gonna get finished. Also, I don't have time, but you knew that already.

In some ways, this makes me feel like a bad fan. I mean, I look at all these fanfiction that people come up with and I think "I could do that!" I see somebody's cosplay or cute little crafts on Pinterest and think "I love that! I should do that!" And it never happens. I sometimes feel like this somehow makes me a lesser fan than all the rest of you. Like, somehow, I love the thing less because I can't make myself follow through on these physical representations of that love. It's kind of depressing.

But the truth (and what I try to focus on, when it gets me down) is my kind of fandom is a different kind of fandom from yours. Instead of making beautiful arts and crafts, or stories to express my love of a thing, I take it apart and find out what makes it work. I've always had the attitude that if you love something, you should find out everything there is to know about it, and this is kind of an extension of that. So, for example, I'm presenting a topic proposal in my film musicology class tomorrow, and I've found a way to work in my love of the TV show Sherlock: I want to do a character study of Moriarty from a sound perspective and look at why he is such an effective villain, as well as what the music/soundscape does to support him in that. I have about four different angles to use for analysis, and the more I look at it, the bigger it gets. It is absolutely FASCINATING guys! It gets me excited, and it is still a way of being a fan, and that's all that matters, right?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Projects!! LIFE!!!

I have a couple, one is much more huge than the other. In the interest of organization I will explain the less massive one first.

Fanfiction: Firefly/A:TLA crossover
I linked most of you to a blurb snippet on Facebook that I wrote as a bit of an intro to the universe. I have bits and pieces here and there but not a plan for conflict climaxes. When my other project is done, maybe I'll work on it.

I stayed up for four days finishing our bridesmaid dresses, 8 hours of sleep total. That's why I failed to post the Tuesday prior to the 21st. Then we spent the next half of the week preparing for the wedding, with its execution on Saturday. Then we spent 2 days taking care of cleanup and driving home. Then we moved Rachel and David to Louisville. That's why I failed to post the Tuesday prior to the 28th. Then I prepared for my current project:

 We arrived in Ohio for training and learned of our teams and assignments at dinner on Friday. I was sent with a team of all girls which I am thankful for, because I do not need to be distracted by bold and beautiful men. Training continued until Sunday when we were commissioned and it was announced to the world where we were being sent!

We packed and left Ohio on Monday morning and reached our destination today! We hit the ground running and have already received appointments to interview for jobs! We expect to have our apartments by Thursday.

My team consists of 8 girls total, split into 2 households of 4 and I am ridiculously thankful for my team, they are all wonderful and we work very well together.

Oh! And my sister and her husband were sent on a team to Dallas, TX!

So that's my current project! I'll keep you updated as we go! Love you love you!

Oh, and here's pictures:

Fanfiction FTW

I have to admit that while I don't comment very often, I do read all of your posts!

While fanfiction is definitely my most common area of fan works, I'm rather proud that I've been branching away from Harry Potter recently into other fandoms.

For Once Upon a Time, I have a RedCricket (Ruby/Archie) fanfic that was surprisingly popular as far as my fanfictions usually go. And I got several reviews from people who said they didn't like RedCricket, but they ship it now. So, I'm very proud of that.

I also wrote a fanfic for Dragon Age, which is a video game. In the game, you discover that one of your traveling companions is heir to the throne. You can choose either to instate your friend to the throne, leave the current ruling Queen on the throne, or convince the two of them to marry. I choose the third option because the two characters each had qualities the other lacked, and together they make an effective ruling team. However, this choice seriously pisses off your companion (because he's not fond of the Queen, and she's the daughter of a man who is responsible for the deaths of a lot of people, one of which is extremely personal to your traveling companion). Even after you save the world, he's still pretty pissed at you. And then, in the companion game, you meet up with him again, and he's actually pretty friendly. And I thought "hmm... I wonder what happened to make him change his mood" (other than the game developers not wanting to code the character for different emotions). So the fanfic is the companion and the queen growing together, learning about each other, and falling in love. That sort of thing.

I've had a number of other fanfics for other fandoms in mind (like the Oblivion movie), but they haven't come to fruition yet. Still, it's rather exciting to be trying new things.

As far as Harry Potter goes, I'm currently working a project involving Harry being sorted into Slytherin instead of Gryffindor. Basically, he's the same Harry we know and love, but he's in a different house and interacting with different people. I plan to go through the first two books and rewrite the events according to Harry's house change. It's exciting for me because I get to learn more about Blaise Zabini and Draco and a reinvented Terence Higgs. So, it's fun, though I'm being a little slow in updating.

Also, I have two Next Gen Rose/Scorpius fics, which I count as branching out because I don't usually write Next Gen.

As far as physical crafts, I'm working on some Harry Potter stuff for Christmas gifts. :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Projects? What's a Project?

Oh, the projects that I have in mind...and don't have time for...

Most recently, I've been going through my old drawings of my characters for whatever various story, fanfiction, or fanart ideas I've had in the past.  As all artists know, we get better the more we practice, and as I was looking back at my initial character designs, I couldn't help but be a little disgusted.  I was lacking in technique like nobody's business, and some of my ideas were just ridiculous.  So I decided to go back and re-design my stuff.  I'm not saying my technique is perfect now (far from it, in fact), but it's certainly better than it was at the initial design stage.  The project slowed to a halt right now, what with school and all, but I'm hoping to get back to it a little bit in December when I'm between semesters.

I have ideas for themed card decks, too, but that is WAY down the Harry Potter, Super Mario Galaxy, Banjo-Tooie, Firefly,...there are many more, I promise you.

Then there's Christmas presents, which are a project in and of themselves.  Which reminds me, some of you have not answered my Facebook post!  I need, from you, your favorite neutral color (i.e., black, grey, brown, navy, etc.) and your favorite non-neutral color (i.e., red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, or variations thereof).  You CAN tell me two neutral colors, but not two non-neutral colors.  Unfortunately, that's not the way these things work  =(  They will be seen together in a something that you will all be receiving for Christmas, so keep that in mind.  So far I have received answers from Cassie, Anne, and Heidi.  Tori and Maggie, I still need answers from you, please-please.

And then, of course, there's the Oz/Wonderland stories I've been working on for about three or four years.  I am hopelessly stuck on Wonderland right now, and even a little bit on Oz.  I think I know what I want to happen, but I can't decide, and it's driving me crazy.  I've tried the whole, "let the story talk to you and exist on its own" the way some of you do, but it's just not working for me.  I don't know that I'll ever have these stories done, especially now that I keep drifting off into a trilogy where I also incorporate Neverland.  This is going to be another one that may have to wait until I'm all settled in with life (like, after I get my certificate and a job to go along with it).  To try and mitigate things, I've tried designing my characters, but that's gone terribly as well, so I don't know what to do. It's on the back-burner, like I said.

As always, I love and miss you guys.  I hope everything is going well, and I look forward to reading the rest of your posts.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fanfiction is a thing I do

Okay, so I think all of you are aware that I write fanfiction. I've been writing fanfiction since 2003, so a full decade now, which, wow, that took a moment to sink in. Geez.

Anyway, unsurprisingly, my main fandom is Harry Potter, and I am pretty proud of the fact that, in my little corner of the internet, I'm pretty well known and respected as a fanfiction author. I checked my author stats recently, and I had over 12,000 hits on my stories in September alone. I've won some ficfest competitions, and, good gracious it's a small world, the other day Chase was talking to a coworker who admitted to reading HP fanfiction, and when he asked if she knew of Realmer06, her eyes lit up with recognition, and she was a bit starstruck to discover I lived about five minutes away.

(Have I mentioned that Chase got a job here in Fredericksburg so we are officially no longer long distance? I'm super excited about that, but I've been AWOL for a couple weeks, so I can't remember what I have and haven't said.)

Anyway, so yeah. I am pretty damn proud of my little tiny bit of internet fame, and my current project is one I'm really excited about.

I have this habit when I write of always trying to fit everything into the same universe, so that the Percy I write in one story is the same Percy I write in another. It's a compulsion I have. Anyway, over the past five years or so, I wrote a huge Next Gen trilogy about Rose and Scorpius and Albus (I'm well known; I never said I was particularly fast about getting things published), and because so many cousins made vague appearances at one time or another, and I wanted to be consistent, I started to develop my little headcanons of things.

This grew and grew until I had charts and timelines and birthdays and age gaps, at which point I said, you know what? I should just write all this into a project.

And that's what I've been doing for the past year or so. The project is called Pieces: A Story Cycle, and each Next Gen kid gets a chapter, a moment if you will, about what defines them and makes them who they are. I've got everyone clumped into cousin groups, and eventually, I'm going to write longer off-shoot stories like the massive Rose/Scorpius trilogy that started it all, for the rest of the Next Gen kids, too.

My goal is to make this a project that people can be as immersed in as they want. If they want to read everything, go for it. But if a person is only interested in Scorpius as I see him? They can just read Scorpius's moment without missing anything.

I've linked up above to the story if you're at all interested in how I've come to see these characters we know next to nothing about. All the stories on this particular site link in to this specific universe. The stories span from Deathly Hallows to the time between the epilogue to far into the Next Gen's timelines. Honestly, there's something for everyone, and I really am very proud of that.

Also! Tangentially related, I started an Etsy shop, where I sell (supposedly) a lot of my HP craftiness! So that's been fun. :)

Fan Works

I was supposed to pick a topic and I forgot! This week, I want to hear about fan works that you have done in the past (maybe one you are most proud of) or something that you are planning on doing or working on right now (if you are not one of us in school and have the free time). It can be fan fiction, crafts, videos, whatever. Tell us about it.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Oh yeah, that.

I am allowing myself TEN MINUTES to write you guys an update before I go back to deciding which 16 crucial words to delete from a max 500 word paper, and reading 200 more pages before Friday.

School is going as well as can be expected and at the same time kicking my butt. A paper a week is still killing me, especially since once I'm through with research I usually need at least 5 drafts to get it into academic language. Right now I'm see-sawing between needing to add more words to be more specific so I don't get annoying questions about things that I didn't look into (because, seriously, I CAN'T BE AN EXPERT IN A WEEK! I am not Tony Stark!) and needing to cut at least 16 words to make it under my word count. BLURGH!

Otherwise, though, classes are going well. I got to present on Sherlock in my Film Musicology class and it was awesome. I keep getting really good ideas for my own research, but of course I don't have time to work on that right now. Heaven forbid I be doing original research in an area I'm actually excited about! We're still talking about searching in Z-401, though we've moved from search engines (like Google) to commercial databases (like Ebsco)! I am learning SO MUCH in that class *sarcasm*. But hey, at least it's not a ton of extra work right?

The biggest news here is that I got a job! I'm working 12 hours a week cataloging scores for the music library. This is the ideal position for me - it gets me valuable experience I can put on my resume and gives me practice at something I didn't get to catalog much at my old position. It'll also give me a little bit of spending money - minimum wage in Indiana is way higher than minimum in Ohio! At first I was concerned that it might be too much with everything else, but I'm finding it really nice to have a couple hours a week where I can do something that I know I'm pretty good at, that distracts me from the pretty much constant feeling of a sour stomach from nerves, and that I have no chance whatsoever at getting an F on!

And that's it, time's up! I hope you're all doing well (I'm writing this three days early, so far it's just Katie's post) and I hope we don't have weeks like last week too often!

EDIT: Remember how I said everything was fine? (Okay, fine-ish. Okay, not really fine, but I'll live.) Well that was until somebody decided to shut down the government! Because, apparently, government shutdown means EVERYTHING, right down to the Library of Congress website. I mean, I get that you can't get in the building, but they TOOK DOWN THE FRICKIN' WEBSITE! That's, like, 90% of my sources for original research! (We do have others but none are nearly so comprehensive.) Every paper since the first week has included at least one manuscript from their digital resources. Now, normally, I prefer to stay out of politics, but I draw the line when it starts interfering with my HOMEWORK! (As a side note, this isn't the only class that's affected - I had an email from a professor of another class that there was a section of our homework we wouldn't be able to do if we hadn't started yet, so just skip it.) I'm not siding with anyone (personally I think they're all being morons for not being willing to compromise on SOMETHING) but will somebody, PLEASE, put the right people in time-out until they stop sulking and WORK THINGS OUT?!?! (I also fail to see how punishing those of us who have nothing to do with the process by, for example, impeding our research and making us fail an assignment, is going to get anything done. Let's punish the idiots that got us into this mess instead! I'd suggest starting with a docked allowance - that seems to work on others who typically behave in this manner!)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Oz the Great and Powerful

Yay, catch up week. Nothing new is going on with me. I'm still working my temporary job, and things are going as well as they could be. I finally watched "Oz the Great and Powerful" the other night. I was hesitant to see it since I'd heard so many negative things about it, and I'm sad to say I wasn't wrong in my expectations. I wanted to post my review of it because there are just some movies that are made that make me wonder how anyone could have thought they'd had a good storyline.

The main problem with Oz the Great and Powerful is the main character (Oscar, or Oz for short) is ultimately unlikable. We are introduced to him as a con-artist. He works as a magician and takes more than his fair share of the proceeds, is flippant with his helpers, and is constantly winning over women in ways that are just insulting to the intelligence of women.


Every single girl he comes across is given the identical music box and is told it was the possession of his deceased grandmother who fought in a painfully obvious made-up battle in a war that took place when women weren't allowed to fight. Really, due? This works for you? Where do you find these brain-dead women?

There were reviews that claimed this movie as incredibly sexist, mostly because the three most powerful women in Oz are looking for a man to save them. While I have no desire to jump on that bandwagon, Oscar's come-ons make it hard for me not to question the mindset of the writer. 

Oscar's plays shouldn't work, but they do. And the fact that these women actually believe such ridiculous and obvious lies makes me wonder. Did the writer think this would be funny? Because it's not. It just makes me want to gag myself. I was jumping up and down in my seat when Glinda finally entered the picture because she's the only woman he puts the moves on who doesn't fall for it.


Oscar gets a little credit when his long-term sweetheart appears. Turns out she's been offered a proposal in marriage, and she came to get his thoughts on the matter. He tells her to accept the proposal on the grounds that she deserves better than him. But this otherwise applaudable moment is brought down with the girl's insistence that she believes he could be better if he wanted to be. The fact that she knows all of his dirty secrets and still wants him because she believes he could be better is just too reminiscent of women in abusive relationships. I want that girl to run out of there and never look back.
Due to Oscar's nature with women, an unhappy boyfriend appears with the intent to rip him limb from limb, and Oscar escapes by getting into a hot air balloon that is sucked into a tornado that takes him to Oz. Once there, he discovers there was a prophecy about a wizard coming to Oz from a far away land who will save the kingdom from the wicked witch. Naturally, everyone believes Oscar is this man.

Obviously this is supposed to be a redemption story, but one of the flaws is the redemption takes too long. Oscar starts his journey in the land of Oz with the same greedy, womanizing nature he's had the whole beginning of the movie, fully taking advantage of whom the people believe him to be. As a viewer, I don't like him, I don't like his actions, and I cannot enjoy a movie where I want to slap the main character every five seconds.
About halfway through the movie Oscar finally meets up with Glinda who is the only person in Oz who sees him for exactly who he is and isn't afraid to let him know it. Glinda knows he's a fraud, but she also knows the people believe in him, and she knows that belief can go a long way. She convinces Oscar to help her rally the people so they can be led against the wicked witch to take back the throne.

(This is why the sexism argument doesn't work for me. It's Glinda's quick thinking and ingenuity that saves Oz. Though she needed Oscar's training in illusion and misdirection to do it, and just because she steps into the background and let's Oscar take all the credit, does not mean that she wasn't the one pulling all the strings all along. Oscar never could have been motivated to save Oz without Glinda's guidance, and there's no way he could have faced the wicked witch one on one and cast her out as Glinda does. The way I see it, Glinda is the real savior here, Oscar's just a tool.)

Glinda and Oscar work together, and when he has the chance to chicken out he sticks it through, and he even manages to make some friends. Things turn around for him, and this is the place where his character-changing redemption should come through, but ultimately the redemption story falls flat because of a certain wicked witch.

When Oscar arrives in Oz, he meets a young witch named Theodora. She believes him to be the prophesized wizard and is excited to take him to Emerald City. On the way, Oscar wins her over and, according to some online speculation, may even sleep with her. After one night of meeting this man, Theodora is convinced the two of them are going to spend the rest of their lives together. This is very awkward for Oscar since of course he wasn’t intending on anything but playing her. He does nothing to disillusion her however, and brushes the whole thing off with the notion that she’ll forget all about him once he gets as far away from her as possible.
Later, Theodora's sister, Evanora (and current caretaker of Emerald City), lies to Theodora and alludes that Oscar had spent that night with her. Theodora is crushed, and in a moment of anguish, Evanora convinces Theodora to curse herself so that all the pain she is feeling (along with all the goodness in her) will go away. Theodora agrees, and as her heart is "withered away," she becomes the Wicked Witch of the West.

It is hinted that Theodora had some wickedness in her to begin with, but all we see of it is one instance where she gets angry and lets a fire ball lose. This does not exemplify wickedness, just a girl who has trouble controlling her emotions. Ultimately, Theodora is characterized in near complete innocence. Her transformation can be seen as pure manipulation on the part of Oscar and Evanora. And that's why the redemption story doesn't work.

Theodora's transformation from an innocent young woman to the wickedest witch there ever lived does not endear me Oscar in the slightest. Regardless of any other factors, he is at least in part responsible for what happened to her. He chose to play with the delicate feelings of a naïve girl and then cast them aside as though they meant nothing to him (as he has done with countless other women), and he never owns up to this fact. The movie may end with him making friends and becoming a generally more likable person, but the fact that he puts the moves on Glinda at the end of the movie just reinforces the sinking feeling that he ultimately changed very little from his time in Oz.


The movie completely neglects to do the frame story where Oscar would wake up and realize he had been dreaming and that all the key people in his life had been in the dream. I think if the movie had done this, a lot could have been accomplished in the way of his redemption. Perhaps he goes after his sweetheart (whose double is Glinda in Oz), or apologizes to his working partner (who doubles as the monkey he befriends) for treating him so horribly. He could even own up to the women he's been manipulating, which would show at least some understanding of how his womanizing actions were wrong and could make up at least a little for what happened to Theodora.

The movie does have elements of a dream, such as him putting the china girl doll back together being reminiscent of the cripple girl who saw his magic show and asked him to make her walk. But without the frame story where we see how his ordinary life changes, we don't ultimately see him learn from his experience in Oz. He changes, yes, and grows. But has he truly become a different man, one the audience can like? Does he truly embody "goodness" as Glinda claims? Does he become the "great man" the people of Oz were looking for and the audience was expecting by the end of the movie?
The ultimate answer is no. The movie does have some good elements, but the redemption story is too week for those elements to follow through. And that's why the movie falls on its face. Its namesake simply doesn’t hold.